Something very strange just happened in the land of Hollywood. A belated sequel to a classic movie has arrived and what’s more surpassed all expectations in terms of its vision and critical reception. In fact some are saying it’s better than the original, which is arguably the biggest cinematic statement of the twenty-first century to date! The flick in question is of course Denis Villeneuve‘s Blade Runner 2049.
The first film, directed by Ridley Scott, set a benchmark for sci-fi production design as well as introducing the mind-bending concepts of originator Philip K. Dick to the screen. This saga of robot (or “replicant”)-hunting policemen and artificial intelligence has been triumphantly expanded, via this major release and the short films commissioned to accompany it. Things have never looked so bright for such a downbeat version of the future.
So as new blood Ryan Gosling meets gun-toting predecessor Harrison Ford, let’s take a look at other past glories from the sci-fi stable which could do with a return decades in the making…
2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY (1968)
When writer Arthur C. Clarke and director Stanley Kubrick joined forces it was a match made in the stars. The story of a malfunctioning computer setting in motion a chain of events that would change Mankind forever, 2001 began with monkey men knocking seven bells out of each other and culminated with a giant baby in space. This particular odyssey (starring Keir Dullea, above) had a level of technical ambition and epic narrative sweep like other.
Peter Hyams sent Roy Scheider on a follow up mission in 2010: The Year We Make Contact but this had nowhere near the impact of Kubrick’s classic and the sequel is over thirty years old at time of writing. Attempts have been made to realize Clarke’s novel 3001: The Final Odyssey – by Blade Runner‘s Ridley Scott among others – to no avail, though with BR 2049 changing the game for additional entries maybe this creative monolith will finally kick into gear for a true successor.
CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND (1977)
Steven Spielberg went from a rampaging shark to a flying saucer with this large scale yet intimate slice of sci-fi, recently re-released to celebrate its fortieth birthday. Star Richard Dreyfuss slowly went round the twist, under the influence of alien visitors, though it turned out there was method to his madness when he started building representations of a mysterious mountain out of whatever was to hand.
The famous conclusion saw humanity meeting extraterrestrials for the first time and Dreyfuss taken away in their ship. Wouldn’t it be interesting to find out what happened to his character Roy and see how the world changed following its close encounter? Of course Spielberg has form in this genre: E.T. trod a similar path and is another potential candidate for a return visit.
BUCKAROO BANZAI (1984)
Cult romp The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai: Across The 8th Dimension is well-known in the right circles, but with the right handling could travel further afield via a sequel. Future Robocop Peter Weller played the title character, a polymath and rock star who battled John Lithgow‘s otherworldly evil genius with the help of his oddball team, including Ellen Barkin and Jeff Goldblum.
Directed by W.D. Richter, it boldly proclaimed itself as the first in a series, though the continuation never materialized due to disappointing box office. A TV version has been pitched twice, most recently with Kevin Smith at the helm. He backed away due to a legal dispute and sadly this reality-hopping free spirit seems to be tied in bureaucratic knots for the time being. But if Rick Deckard can come back from a troubled production after thirty-odd years so can Banzai.
THE FIFTH ELEMENT (1997)
Left field lens-wielder Luc Besson took audiences on an interstellar journey in Valerian And The City Of A Thousand Planets, based on the comic books by Pierre Christin and Jean-Claude Mézières. These were also inspiration for Valerian‘s spiritual forebear, Besson’s The Fifth Element. While it doesn’t look like his latest offering will get a sequel, surely the time is right for a return to the universe he transported us to twenty years ago.
The outrageous yarn of Bruce Willis‘ special ops cab driver rescuing “Supreme Being” Leeloo (Milla Jovovich, above) is pretty self-contained. Despite this there were so many memorable characters in such a lush environment a further instalment would surely go down nicely. So if the helmer is reading this – unlikely but worth a shot – I urge him to set aside Lucy 2 and create a new adventure for this much-loved sci-fi creation!
Blade Runner 2049 is released on Friday.
Enjoyed this article? Why not read Blade Runner On The Edge: A Lost Sequel.